As the governors of Maryland and Virginia move toward gradually reopening the states’ economies, Washington, D.C., will stay closed in preparation for an expected surge in coronavirus cases, the mayor said.
Mayor Muriel Bowser said the stay-at-home order will remain in effect through at least May 15 as case counts continue to climb and community transmission of the virus continues.
“We know that opening up and people mixing in various ways is going to lead to increased infections,” she said Wednesday in response to questions about Maryland and Virginia.
Maryland is on track to begin reopening next week as hospitalizations and numbers of virus patients in intensive care drop, Gov. Larry Hogan said Wednesday. Under Stage 1, Maryland will lift the stay-at-home order and allow some businesses to reopen. State parks and beaches are back open Thursday, and activities including golf, camping and fishing can resume.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam said earlier this week that he expects to be able to allow some businesses to reopen on May 15. The restrictions may stay in place longer in Northern Virginia and other parts of the state that are harder-hit, he said Wednesday.
Here’s where we are Thursday in the fight against coronavirus in the D.C. area.
More than 54,000 people across the region have been confirmed to have the virus. At least 2,368 people have died. Go here to see the data in detail.
Hospitals in the D.C. area are preparing for hospitalizations due to the virus to peak soon.
“We continue to see a significant number of critically ill patients,” said Dr. Lisa Boyle of Medstar Georgetown University Hospital.
The D.C. health department said Wednesday that they expected cases to peak between June 28 and July 1.
As Congress returns to Washington, the union that represents U.S. Capitol Police officers reports that at least 14 officers have tested positive for the virus. The officers were isolated to reduce the risk of spread.
A nurse who worked at a care facility in Alexandria where there is a coronavirus outbreak died of the virus, and her family says they believe a lack of information may have contributed to her falling ill. Nina Forbes “was concerned the PPE wasn’t enough. She was concerned about the new residents that were coming in after the lockdown, and why that was even allowed to happen," her daughter said.
And now something uplifting: A Virginia doctor concerned about the mental health of communities of color that are hard-hit by the virus is offering free mental health care sessions for young people in Northern Virginia.
“We ourselves can provide the care through our network of people we already know who are culturally competent, who are invested in the needs and treatment of kids of color," Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble said.
Neither D.C.’s mayor nor the governors of Maryland or Virginia are scheduled to address the public on Thursday.